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article imageResearchers confirm that creativity is sexy

By Glen Olives     Dec 18, 2014 in Lifestyle
While some creative endeavors rank higher than others, creative people generally report having more sexual partners. Scientists think creativity might signal mental fitness to potential mates. (I knew it all along.)
On December 16, Scott Barry Kaufman reported in the Scientific American that in all cultures creativity is a highly valued characteristic when selecting a potential partner.
But if you happen to be a particularly creative horn-rimmed glasses-wearing mechanical engineer, don't get too excited just yet. It turns out there are differences in the sexiness of creative people. Gregory Fiest, a psychologist, points out that applied or technological displays of creativity (such that one might find in the sciences and technology) are generally less sexy than forms of creativity found in ornamental and aesthetic displays of creativity, such as art and music.
This goes a long way in explaining why we idolize George Clooney, Anne Hathaway and Taylor Swift, but probably don't know who Lawrence Krauss (a physicist), Mildred Dresselhaus (a carbon scientist) or Ruzena Bajcsy (a computer scientist) are. Thus, Daniel Nettle asks rhetorically in his book Strong Imagination: Madness, Creativity, and Human Nature: You remember Beethoven and Brahms, but can you name a single innovator in the field of sewer construction and sewer treatment? Of course we can't, Kaufman notes, although the creative sewer specialists have undoubtedly saved many lives, while the musicians haven't.
Kauffman explores this in his paper "Who Finds Bill Gates Sexy?" (with co-author Fiest and others). He agrees with the earlier work of Fiest, but also concludes that there are "significant individual differences in mate preferences." We don't, for example, pursue potential mates based solely on creativity, but rather many (perhaps hundreds) of other factors.
Nonetheless, here are the top 10 sexiest creative behaviors: (1) sports; (2) spontaneous road trips; (3) music recording; (4) clever remarks; (5) music writing; (6) being in a band; (7) artistic photography; (8) comedy performance; (9) unique style of dress, and (10) poetry writing.
Interestingly, four of the top 10 (recording music, writing music, being in a band, and dressing uniquely) involve musical creativity in one form or another. If you throw in poetry, that would include five of the 10.
And now the bad news for most of us involved in other creative endeavors.
The top ten least sexy creative behaviors: (1) creating ad campaigns; (2) interior decorating; (3) writing computer programs; (4) designing websites; (5) gardening; (6) presenting scientific papers; (7) exterior decorating; (8) using math to solve practical problems; (9) developing scientific original designs, and (10) participating in dramatic productions.
Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer
Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer
Mr. B
So, there you have it: some creative behavioral traits are sexier, on average, than others, but as Kauffman importantly points out: [T]hese results suggest that even though creative displays that evoke perceptual, aesthetic, and emotional qualities in the perceiver are considered most sexually attractive by most humans, assortative mating (“like attracts likes”) very much operates within the creativity domain.
In other words, less conventionally sexy people need not worry too much about their own attractiveness. A talented computer programmer may very well find Justin Timberlake or Rihanna creatively sexy, but also the creative programmer sitting in the next cubicle terribly sexy as well.
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